Why happiness at work matters

While it’s no surprise that being happy is good for us, did you know that being happy at work is crucial for your mental health, your performance and even career success? Here’s how to boost your happiness at work and what to do if your current work situation is failing to put on a smile on your face.

The importance of happiness

Whilst most employees wouldn’t necessarily describe their workplace as The Happiest Place on Earth, it is important to feel some degree of happiness on the job. Performance at work and happiness are intrinsically linked.

“People don’t perform at their best when they’re experiencing negative emotions,” says Dr Timothy Sharp, founder of the Happiness Institute. “We all know about absenteeism but there’s also a phenomenon called presenteeism where people are at their desk but they’re just not performing, they’re not concentrating, they’re not addressing the right sorts of things. They might have their bum on the seat but they’re not really contributing in a meaningful or productive way.”

With happiness playing such a big role in workplace performance, it’s no wonder that it also has a big impact on career success. As Dr Sharp explains, “Happiness leads to success because when we experience real and genuine positive emotions we’re more energised, we’re motivated, we’re inspired, and we’re more inclined to go the extra yard.”

Why happiness at work matters

Turn your office into your happy place

If you’re finding that the highlight of your workday is when you get to leave at the end of the day, it’s important to assess what you can do to improve the situation.

Adele Sinclair, Wellness Coach and Trainer at Wellness at Work Australia, suggests creating a balance sheet of what you do and don’t like at work to assess the situation and find the cause of your complacency.

“You might actually find that the good outweighs the bad. If that’s the case, it’s a matter of consciously appreciating and enjoying the good things you have, focusing on being grateful for daily joys, and not taking things for granted.”

If you find that the bad does outweigh the good then look at how you can improve the situation yourself:

  • If you’re bored, look for new ways to challenge yourself or think about studying to elevate your skills and capabilities.
  • If you’re feeling stressed, learn stress management techniques to help calm yourself throughout the day or speak to your manager about prioritisation.

If you feel that improving the situation at work requires you to have a discussion with your manager, Sinclair suggests broaching the topic in terms of how your manager can help you work at your best and in turn deliver better results for the business.

“Don’t go into the conversation empty-handed, bring solutions, not problems to the table,” says Sinclair. “Pitch the benefits to the organisation. If you frame it as being all about you, the conversation won’t go very far.”

What to do if you’re not happy

If you find that it’s getting harder and harder to find a reason to smile about your current role, it might be a sign that it’s time to explore other options, and a career change could be the answer.

If you do want to move out of your current field, it’s important to have a plan in place. Once you’ve identified the type of role it is that you want to move into, do your research and look at what skills you may have that are transferable and also what extra skills or qualifications may be required.

If you need to re-train then look at undertaking study either by doing a short course or possibly undertaking a certificate, diploma or degree.

Ultimately your happiness at work is crucial to not only your overall wellbeing but also your future success so be sure to place it at the top of your to-do list.